Okay, so the Deadspin Guest Lecture Series was a bit of a bust. In its place, we introduce a brand new column from Big Daddy Drew. This is BALLS DEEP With Big Daddy Drew (Balls® is a registered trademark and has been used with the expressed written consent of AJ Daulerio). It's gonna be like an SI Point After column, only with dick jokes. Enjoy.
There are two main strip clubs located in New Haven, Connecticut. The first is Stagedoor Johnny's, (NSFW), which is actually TWO strip clubs in one. You see, in the front there is Stagedoor Johnny's, which serves alcohol but features only topless dancing. And then, in the back, there is Backstage (or Backdoor) Johnny's, which rivals Good Guys here in DC for the title of Worst Name For A Heterosexual Male Strip Club. Backdoor Johnny's features all nude dancing but serves no alcohol. The other strip club in New Haven is a topless-only joint called Catwalk. Both of these strip clubs hold indelible memories for me, one of which, oddly enough, involves sports. But first, I have to tell you about the all-nude stuff.
Backdoor Johnny's was the first strip club I ever went to and therefore, as you might have guessed, the first time I ever got to lay eyes on a real, live, naked female body. I was sixteen at the time, but I managed to get into the club with my friend Jeremy thanks to my brother's trusty International Student ID card, which he no longer used.
It should probably be noted that that is not my brother. Nor is he named T Fredericks. Nor did he attend the University of Student Travel, which I assume is located somewhere in Florida. Ah, yes. The international student ID card. The card that serves absolutely no purpose abroad and is most commonly used as a phony ID for kids trying to get into places run by proprietors who clearly do not care if your ID is fake. Anyway, my ID worked, I was let in, and there I got to see a glimpse of the pink for the very first time.
This was a real breakthrough for me. The dancer, who seemed uncommonly nice, even went to great pains (at least I thought at the time) to accommodate me in my first up-close study of the female anatomy, spreading extra wide provided I kept fresh dollars handy. She even touched my shoulder, which meant she might've been into me! Then she said, "I think it's so cute that you're a virgin." I didn't need to tell her. She knew! She must have had ESP or something.
I felt a real connection with this lady, whose name I can't remember. But, at the end of the night, it became clear to me that I was just a little kid to her, a novelty item. And that made me feel pretty stupid. All my life, I had been nice to the ladies, a dreaded Friend Of Girls. It didn't seem right that, at the end of the night, it was JOHNNY who got to take that girl round the back for a good, home-style face-glazin'. I should have been able to do that. So, that night, I decided to stop being a nice guy and commit myself to being a total prick. So far, so good!
So that's why I remember Stagedoor Johnny's. But I remember the Catwalk strip club for an entirely different reason: because that was the bar where I watched the San Antonio Spurs win the 1999 NBA Title.
The '99 Finals, as you probably don't recall, were one of the crummiest Finals ever played. There was nothing remotely memorable about the Spurs destroying the Knicks 4-1 to take the championship in a strike-shortened season that most people (including league officials) would rather soon forget. But I remember that series specifically because of WHERE I watched it, namely the most annoying strip club in the United States. I'll let Tom McCabe of Associated Content explain:
While the Catwalk offers such traditional dance floor entertainment as pole dancing, the talented dancers there also frequently offer interpretive and creative variations on topless dancing.
That's no lie. Strippers at this place are allowed to pick their own music and do their own choreography. (Who knew choreography had to be involved?) The first dancer came on stage wearing a hooded cloak and chose to dance to "Black Sabbath" by Black Sabbath. ALL SIX AND HALF MINUTES OF IT.
Now I love me some Sabbath, but if you've ever heard this song, you know it's not the kind of song made for maintaining erections. Imagine trying to stay turned on with Ozzy in the background going:
Big, black shape with eyes of fi-ahhhhhh!
Telling people their de-siah!
Satan's sitting there, he's smiling
Watches those flames get hi-ahhhh and hi-ahhhh!
OH NO, NO, PLEASE GOD HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!
Three minutes in, I wanted to drink a gallon of black paint. It only got worse from there. The next stripper came out in a full Ghostbusters costume and danced to the Ray Parker Jr. title track. She even wore glasses. Because hey, when you think of hot pussy, you think of Egon.
Horrified by the show, but determined to stay since I had already paid cover, I quickly took solace in the Spurs' 78-77 "triumph" over the Knicks. It wasn't a great game. But I remember it well specifically because of the setting I saw it in. And I thought of that game recently because, with March Madness coming up next week, I tend to lament the fact that I watch too many sporting events from home.
Part of what makes the first round of the NCAA Tournament so outstanding is the fact that, because it's played during working hours, you're almost always forced to watch it somewhere other than at home: in a nearby bar, or in a conference room at the office, or from your suite at the Mayflower Hotel while a seven-diamond girl works your Spitzer Howitzer, or wherever else. And, since you're in a public place, you're more likely to share in experiencing the event with other people, which in turn makes it more memorable. Watching a game is, in and of itself, a passive activity. Just you and the screen. But when you watch it with a crowd, it becomes the polar opposite. You engage with other people over it, and you have memorable encounters because of it. Or so I've been told.
I've seen a couple of great tournament title games: Duke-UConn and Syracuse-Kansas, to name a couple. But the fact is, those games were played on a Monday night, which meant I invariably watched the game at home, choosing comfort over atmosphere. And while they were exciting games, I don't remember them as sharply as I remember Princeton beating UCLA, or Weber State (with Harold "The Show" Arceneaux!) taking down UNC, or Northwestern State beating Iowa, or Bucknell beating Kansas. I saw all those games after sneaking out of work and downing pints of Yuengling at two o'clock.
And I need to watch sports like that WAY more often.
We live in a sports world where more and more cozy amenities are being designed to keep us watching the games at home, where everything is nice is comfy. We have recliners, and TiVo, and Internet Access, and we can shit on our own toilets at halftime, which is huge. I love that. Bye bye, Trader Joe's tamale! You can't hurt me anymore!
But this time of year always reminds me how much better sports can be when you actually get off your ass and see them somewhere else. I'm not talking about live at the stadium. That's expensive and it usually sucks. I'm just talking about seeing them out on the town, as part of a larger social setting. Because while the quality of the game is crucial, it's the circumstances in which we watch them that often make them more memorable. I remember a Bulls-Pacers game in college where Jordan and Pippen each scored 40 points. I'll always remember it because people in the room actually stopped playing beer die to watch it. No one stopped a game of beer die for anything. That was fucking cool.
Much cooler than watching a chick strip to "Ghostbusters."